Shoe Trends – A History from the Past 50 years

By August 24, 2017Lifestyle
Shoe Trend - A History

Chances are, if you’re reading this blog, you love shoes just as much as we do. So let us ask you this: have you ever thought about historical shoes trends? Perhaps you’ve looked at a vintage photograph, and you’ve fallen in love with the fashion of the time, or maybe you take inspiration from past decades when you’re styling your own outfits. If this is you, it’s time to take your appreciation for shoes and vintage fashion, and marry the two. Today we’ll be discussing the biggest historical shoe trends over the last 50 years. In each decade we’ll give you the most popular shoe trend of the era. And hey, perhaps you’ll even be able to take a little inspiration from past decades for your current wardrobe. A little vintage flair never hurt anyone, now did it? Let’s dive in!


1950sImage via Vintage Dancer

Saddle shoes, pumps, and loafers, when it comes to the 1950s, there were plenty of styles that were worn at the time. In general, though, shoes during this era were considered a bit of an underrated accessory. With the war over, women began focusing on their fashion choices, and shoes unfortunately just weren’t the main emphasis. However, there were still some major shoe trends to emerge in the 50s. Most notably, we saw the kitten heel take on some popularity. Elegant and classy, the kitten heel is essentially a pump, but with a very low heel. Kitten heels were easy to walk in and practical, but still maintained a sense of formality. Have you noticed that the kitten heel has actually had a bit of a comeback in recent seasons? For your own little piece of the 50s, check out our version of the kitten heel sold at Unlikely Pear.


Mary JanesImage via Pinterest

If the kitten heel of the 1950s was low, shoes in the 60s were a whole other story. Flat shoes were hugely popular during this time. Also, with shortened skirts and a lot of leg being shown, shoes were now being seen more than ever, which put a lot more emphasis on shoes as an accessory, think bright colors, straps, and embellishment. As for a popular style of the 1960s, we can’t not mention the ever-popular Mary Janes. With a short thick heel, and a strap across the top of the foot, Mary Janes not only looked stylish, but they were also comfortable and easy to walk in. Not to mention, the general style of the 60s was very “cute”, and almost doll-like, which made Mary Janes the ideal footwear choice for those ladies following the style trends.


1970sImage via Her Campus

While shoes in the 60s may have been flat, shoes in the 70s took on new heights. Introducing the platform heel (and yes, platforms were popular for both men and women). You could find platforms in all shoe styles, whether it be a sandal or a boot. In the beginning of the era, platforms were generally accompanied by a high, chunky, block heel, while later in the era the heel became lower, and the platform was thinner or nonexistent. When you think of the biggest shoe trends of the 1970s, most definitely platform shoes come to mind.


Chuck TaylorsImage via Pinterest

Ah, the 80s, a time for neon, sequins, shoulder pads, and all things excessive and over-the-top. Yes, there’s no question that the 80s were an interesting time for fashion, so what about shoe trends? Well, the biggest shoe trend at the time was unquestionably the growing popularity of sneakers, for both men and women. Most notably, Converse Chuck Taylors high tops were hugely popularized after appearing in numerous music videos and movies, such as “Back To The Future”. Paired with leg warmers or acid washed jeans, in the 80s, if you were sporting your neon bright Chuck Taylors, you instantly gained some style points.


Steve Madden SlidersImage via Cosmopolitan

What were some of your favorite shoe trends of the 90s? Hopefully you have a few, because the 90s are making a comeback when it comes to shoes! Jelly sandals, platform slide ons, and the iconic Steve Madden slides (pictured above), they’re all coming back. In fact, Steve Madden recently announced they will actually be restocking the popular slides. Yes, you can now purchase your favorite shoes of the 90s and look right on trend. Cue the nostalgia, it’s time to embrace the 90s again.

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